Posted by: kfugrip | November 2, 2007

One hundred five: Lust, Caution

Lust, Caution, directed by Ang Lee, is not a masterpiece but it is a fantastic film.  I saw it on a small screen and it didn’t reduce any of the grandeur of what I was watching.  A word on the rating: NC-17 was a bit extreme in this case.  Perhaps I’m desensitized but I found nothing shocking or objectionable in this film.  I think it had more to do with seeing the actor’s hips thrust than anything else.  It was a frank, and sometimes sensual, depiction of sexuality.  Why are filmmakers punished for showing these things?

Lust, Caution is the story of a group of students whose theater group takes up the task of assassinating a traitor to China during the Japanese invasion.   The student’s initial plan doesn’t work but soon the target (Tony Leung) takes on one of the students (Wei Tang) as a mistress.  Comiting herself totally to the ‘role’ of mistress, will she be able to complete the mission or will she fall in love?

What I liked:  Ang Lee made a long film seem like it wasn’t long at all.  I know the film was two hours and thirty-eight minutes long but it didn’t feel that way.  The emotional story of Wang Jaizhi (Wei Tang) is fraught with disappointments and love and the film, which is a beautiful tragedy, washes over the audience.  The technique is nearly invisible, not flashy, which was important in a long and taught character piece like this.

What I didn’t like:  It was missing something that kept it from blowing me away like a movie I would rate 5 stars.  The way the film flashes back is unnecessary and I wish they had avoided that method of telling the story.  That being said I’m only nitpicking at this point.  The film was great.

4 stars




  1. wow. good review. makes me very sad i didn’t go with you.

    i’ll know better next time. at least when it comes out on dvd i can watch it on the big tv 🙂

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